One of my picks for Sarasota’s best restaurants served one of the country’s most famous celebrity chefs this past weekend.
Occupying a cozy cottage in the historic Towles Court arts district, Indigenous appears on my lists of the best restaurants in downtown Sarasota and best romantic restaurants, which were both published in January. You will also find Indigenous on my list of best restaurants for burgers in Sarasota and Bradenton that ran in May.
Of course, I’m not the only one to praise Indigenous. Chef and owner Steve Phelps made the semi-finals of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award in 2014 and 2015, and the James Beard Awards are basically the Oscars of the food world.
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TV celebrity chef Bobby Flay visits Indigenous restaurant in downtown Sarasota
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is best known for his work on the Food Network since the 1990s, which has earned him multiple Daytime Emmy Awards. He is also the founder of the Bobby’s Burger Palace group of fast casual restaurants. Our sister publication, the Austin American-Statesman, reported on June 27 that Flay had visited the Texas capital to look for buyers interested in opening a Bobby’s Burger Palace there.
On Friday, June 30, Flay visited Indigenous in downtown Sarasota. A Facebook post published Saturday morning by Indigenous showed Phelps and what appears to be three members of his kitchen staff posing for a photo with Flay. The posts reads, “Thanks (Bobby Flay) for hanging with our team last night! Great to see you!!!”
Indigenous is closed Sunday and Monday, and Phelps could not immediately be reached on his mobile phone Monday morning.
The restaurant, which is known for serving sustainable seafood, appeared on national television itself in 2021 when Phelps was interviewed on a “CBS This Morning: Saturday” segment. It was for “The Dish,” which spotlights chefs and culinary experts, and featured show co-host Jeff Glor visiting Sarasota to meet with Phelps. Their discussion included Phelps explaining the meaning of the name “Indigenous” for the restaurant, stemming from its use of ingredients native to the area, as well as fish farming.
Indigenous, at 239 S Links Ave. in downtown Sarasota, is open 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information or to make a reservation, call 941-706-4740 or visit indigenoussarasota.com.
Wade Tatangelo is Ticket Editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and Florida Regional Dining and Entertainment Editor for the USA TODAY Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism by subscribing.